GRRM on the Hugo Losers Party

By George R.R. Martin: We ran into some problems this year at the Hugo Losers Party in Dublin, and it seems there’s been a good deal of online commentary about what happened and why, much of it from people who were not there and don’t know any of the facts, but are outraged and eager to chime in all the same.   There’s been way too much misinformation going around, and a lot more heat than light. 

I do not know that anything I can say will appease those who did not get into the party… but I can at least explain what happened, and why.

Facts first.  At the Hugo Losers Party on Sunday night at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, for a certain period of time, the venue where we were hosting the party reached its maximum legal capacity, and a number of invited guests arrived at the door and were denied entrance.   Included among them were some nominees from the awards ceremony that had been held earlier that evening (losers largely, I gather, though there may have been a winner or two as well), together with their plus ones.   A few of those who did not get into the party became very irate and took their grievance on line, even as the party was going on.  Others, not present, became irate on their behalf.    And matters have mushroomed from there.   There have been a lot of angry words spoken, and a demand to know who is to blame. 

There were four separate groups involved in this year’s Hugo Losers Party, in major or minor ways: the 2019 Worldcon (Dublin), next year’s Worldcon (New Zealand), the venue (the Guinness Storehouse), and me m’self and I, with my staff.   Everybody played some part in what befell us, but for some that part was very, very small.   I have seen posts blistering both Dublin and New Zealand.  Neither one deserves the criticism they are getting.   If someone must be castigated here, fine, blame me.   It was my party.   Other people were involved, and there were definitely some failures of communication, but the ultimate responsibility was mine.   And while a number of mistakes were made along the way, the biggest was the one I made at the very beginning, months ago, when I chose the venue.  

Since reviving (or reclaiming, if you prefer) the Hugo Losers Party in 2015, I have searched for unique, interesting, off-site venues to hold the festivities.  The party had long since outgrown the hotel suites where it began in the 70s and 80s, and a sterile convention center function room is no place to have a party, in my opinion.   The Guinness Storehouse seemed perfect.   Historic, colorful, interesting, quintessentially Dublin… and they say Guinness is best when drunk at the source.   Many of my guests agreed, and told me during the party how much they loved the venue.  

The problem was, it turned out not to be big enough for everyone that wanted to attend.

That requires a bit more explanation, however.   The Storehouse is a massive old multi-story building.   From the outside, it looks as if it could contain ten parties the size of ours.  And it could have, if we had the whole building.    We didn’t.  We rented the Arrol Suite and adjoining mezzanines on the second floor.  With the set-up we selected (a stage, some comfortable seating, a dance floor, the bar, food stations, tables, and more seating out on the mezzanine, etc), its maximum capacity was 450 people.  

My mistake was thinking that would be enough.

Dublin was the fifth Hugo Losers I have run since reclaiming the party.   In terms of venue size, the Storehouse falls right in the middle.   It was smaller than the Glasshouse in San Jose and the cavernous Midland Theatre we used for the Kansas City party, but larger than Glover mansion in Spokane and way larger than the steampunk bar we used in Helsinki, the smallest of our party sites.   We knew the capacity of the floor we were renting well in advance, and worried whether the 450 limit would be a problem for us.   The possibility was there, we all saw that.    But there was no easy answer, so in the end we decided to go ahead as planned in the hopes that things would work out.   The final decision was mine.   It was the wrong decision.

I will not deny that my team and I had concerns.   This came into sharp focus when James Bacon requested 140 invitations from us, for inclusion in the registration packets.   He wrote, “The figure of 140 invitations, (280 people), includes. Hugo Finalists. Guests of Honour. Featured artists, Special Guests (astronauts)  FF Delegates, the Master of Ceremonies.”  This was a much larger figure than we’d been expecting, though perhaps it should not have been.   The number of Hugo finalists has been growing steadily in recent years.  We now have six finalists in each category where once we had five, and Worldcon keeps adding more and more new categories (this year, the Lodestar) without ever dropping any.  Also, whereas in the past categories like fanzine and semiprozines only had one editor, and therefore one nominee (Andy Porter for ALGOL, DIck Geis for ALIEN CRITIC, Charlie Brown for LOCUS, Mike Glyer for FILE 770, etc.), now most of them seem to be edited by four, five, or seven people, all of whom expect rockets and nominee invitations.  It adds up.    Since each invitation is a plus one, Dublin’s request meant that 280 spots of out 450 were already gone, before I had even invited a single guest of my own.   That made me and my team gulp a bit.   Nonetheless, we complied.  (Later, James requested additional invitations for his own concom and “other worthy people.”  We provided those as well).

Despite our trepidations, I still believed that 450 would be enough.  I had several reasons for that.   A month before the con, I exchanged emails with James Bacon,  asking him for his best estimate of attendance.   Since Dublin had shut off registration, it seemed likely that his estimate would be accurate.   James told me he expected about 5500 people, which turned out to be quite close.   That was smaller than last year’s San Jose Worldcon, and quite a bit smaller than the Helsinki Worldcon, which drew 7900.   A smaller con meant a smaller party, I reasoned; fewer past Hugo losers, writers, editors, and other people normally invited would be in attendance.  (I was wrong).   

I was also misled by our experience at Helsinki (2017).   The steampunk bar that year was easily the smallest of the five venues I’ve used since 2015.   The Hugo Losers absolutely packed the place, to the extent that the by the time I arrived, I could not get into my own party.  Every seat was taken, every booth full, people were lined up three-deep at the bar, the dance floor was packed.  Fortunately, there was an outside seating area with tables and chairs, and lots of sidewalk, so the Helsinki party simply spilled outdoors.   The bar did not seem to mind.   The more people poured in, the more drinks they served, so they were happy.  Ecstatic, even.  They thanked us afterwards.   All that was in the back of my mind when I considered the Guinness Storehouse.   We would have a LOT more room than we had in Helsinki… and I suppose I figured that if we exceeded the 450 limit, we would simply pack in tighter, or spill over to other areas of the building.   The Storehouse had plenty of space.    Foolishly, I assumed the Guinness people would think the same way they had in Helsinki: the more people we had, the more drinks they could move.   (I was wrong about this as well).

A number of the louder Twitterers have stated SOMETIMES IN SCREAMING CAPS that it is simplicity itself to calculate the number of attendees at a party.   That makes me suspect that none of them have ever organized one, at least not one as big as the Hugo Losers Party.   We are not talking about a sit-down dinner with a set number of guests, nor an awards ceremony with fixed opening and closing times.   And while there is certainly a relationship between the number of invitations handed out and the number of guests, it is not one-to-one, as you might think.   Not everyone who receives an invitation actually comes.   On the other hand, every year we have invited guests who turn up with their plus one… and a plus two, a plus three, a plus four, etc.   “They’re with me,” they announce, and some get very indignant if told their extras will not be admitted.  We also get people arriving at the door without an invitation in hand, having forgotten to bring it when they donned their party finery.   Other people may not have received an invite this year, but have attended past parties.    Some never got invited simply because we never encountered them at the con;  if we had known they were there, we certainly would have invited them.  Bottom line, there’s a certain amount of guesstimation going on every year when we try to figure how many guests we’ll have.

Also, parties ebb and flow.   People come, people go.   Some come early and leave early.   Some arrive late and depart at closing.  A few are there when you open the doors and still there when you turn out the lights.   We’d had four years of experience with these affairs, so I had a good idea of the patterns.   A few early birds show up even while the awards are still going on.   After the Hugos, there is a big rush.   Two rushes, actually; one made up of losers and spectators, who leave right after the last rocket is handed out, and a second made up of winners and friends, who tend to linger around the con accepting congratulations and posing for photos.   After that people continue to trickle in, in smaller groups.   Food is served, the band plays, the party gets  larger… until about midnight, which traditionally (if something that started in 2015 can be considered a tradition) is when I present the Alfie Awards.   After the Alfies, dessert is served.   In past years, we’ve had a large cake fashioned in the shape of a rocket ship crashed into a pile of books.   This year, our friends from CoNZealand offered to take care of dessert, so we had small individual cakes of a sort popular in New Zealand (and, because of a lapse in communications, we also had a second sort of small individual cakes arranged by my staff).   After dessert, guests start to depart.   Not all at once by any means — the party usually runs for several more hours —  but midnight is definitely the high point.

Our past experience with party ebb and flow was another reason why I figured a maximum capacity of 450 would be sufficient.   The Guinness Storehouse was a good ways away from the convention center.   Too far to walk; we figured most guests would take taxis.   Knowing that some con-goers would be on tight budgets, however, we also provided free transport; a minibus with twenty seats that would shuttle back and forth between the convention center and the Spencer and the Guinness Storehouse.   It would take some time to make the trip,  so the guests would be arriving in small groups throughout the evening.   Three or four trips into the night, past experience told us that some people would be leaving even as others were arriving.  

In any case, this was how it was supposed to go.   But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

We got the first bad news when we arrived in Dublin and some of my staff went down to the Guinness Storehouse to go over all the arrangements.   It was there that the Guinness people made it very clear to us that the 450 maximum capacity was an absolute hard limit.   There would be no packing more people in, as at Helsinki.  If we went over 450, the party would be shut down immediately.   Also, though there was nobody else in the building that night, we would not be permitted to spill out onto unused floors.   Our guests would be restricted to the Arrol Suite and adjacent mezzanine rooms, the areas we had booked, and there would be security on hand to make certain no one went wandering.   That was… well… firm, but hardly something we could quibble over.   We got what I paid for.    And the Guinness people were extremely accommodating in many other ways, so by no means do I want to blame them for our problem.    They were perfectly correct.

(There will be some, undoubtedly, who are now saying, “well, why didn’t you rent more space.”   Yes, so simple.   But renting more floors would have cost more money.   A LOT more money.  Also, more space meant more guests, which meant a larger bar bill to be paid.   Plus food.   We had an open bar.   The Guinness people also informed us that when you have an open bar, Irish law requires that you provide food for however many guests you are anticipating, as a measure against drunkenness.  Not bowls of pretzels or finger food either, but meals.  And we did just that, with several food stations throughout the party serving sausages and Irish stew and other substantial eats, and waiters circulating with smoked salmon, pigs in blankets, etc.   A larger space would have meant ordering sufficient additional food to feed the new maximum capacity, at substantial additional cost.   And Dublin, we had learned, is an expensive city.   The Guinness Storehouse was not the largest venue we had ever used, but it was definitely the most expensive.   This year’s party cost almost twice as much as last year’s bash in San Jose).

Which brings me, finally, to The Night, and how things went wrong.

The party was on the second floor of the Storehouse.   Just inside the entrance, on the ground floor, was an escalator to the party floor, and an elevator for those unable to use an escalator.   For the past three years, the following year’s Worldcon has assisted me with the Hugo Losers Party.  This year it was our friends from New Zealand.   In addition to a cash contribution to help defray the expenses of the party, CoNZealand provided the desserts (as previously mentioned), and people to man the door.  Guinness had its own people on the door, of course, but as in past years, I also wanted fans there, someone who might recognize a Hugo loser or BNF or editor if they showed up without an invite.   The Kiwis also had gifts for all the Hugo nominees, winners and losers both, a tradition that sprung up some time during the long years when I wasn’t doing the party.   To reach the escalator/ elevator and the party floor, arriving guests had to pass the door just off the parking area, where the Kiwis were checking invitations and Guinness had stationed a man with a counter who was clicking every guest as they entered to keep an exact count.   The Kiwis also set up at the top of the escalator, where they were giving the nominees their gifts as they went by, and putting funny hats on the winners.   (We do allow winners to attend the Hugo Losers Party, but only if they don a conehead or chicken hat so they can be suitably mocked by the losers).   James Bacon and other members of the Dublin concom did attend the party, but had no role there save as guests, and should not be blamed for anything that happened thereafter.   I had four staff members with me at Worldcon… my minions, as I call them.  One minion was solely devoted to assisting my wife Parris, who was recovering from recent surgery and walking with a pair of canes.   The other three were assisting me with various aspects of the party; food, drink, photography, awards, what have you.  

The party was scheduled to open at 10:30 and run until 2:00, but the early birds started to arrive well before we opened the doors.   A few even got there before my staff.   They were turning up earlier than usual because they could not get into the awards ceremony.   (I do find it curious that, with all this Twitter talk about people being “turned away” from the Hugo Losers Party, no one is mentioning the far larger number of people turned away from the Hugos themselves.   I’ve been attending Worldcons since 1971, and in all those years all you ever needed to get into the Hugos was a con badge…  but this year, that was not enough.  You also needed to queue up and get a wristband.   As it happens, some people did not get that message, and others were unable or unwilling to queue).   Turned away from the Hugos, many of these people opted to grab taxis and hop over to Guinness instead.   Their numbers included editors, publishers, writers, long-time fans, past Hugo losers, past Worldcon GOHs, even a Grandmaster.   Some of the angry Twitterers seem to be suggesting that these early birds were cheating somehow or doing something underhanded, that they should not have been allowed at the party, etc.   Nonsense.  Yes, some turned up sooner than expected, but the vast majority of them had invitations, and all of them were welcome.

The awards themselves ran long.   I was the designated acceptor for two nominees who could not attend, but both of them lost, so there was no need for me to linger once the last Hugo had been presented.   I departed immediately, and grabbed a ride over to the Guinness, travelling with John Picacio and several of his ladies from the Mexicanx Initiative.  It was a little before 11:00 when we arrived, by which time the party was already hopping… though by no means overcrowded.   A lot of other guests were turning up as well, most coming straight from the conference center by cab.   The minibus we had chartered made its first delivery around the same time, then turned around and headed back to collect more.   Once on the scene, I went up to the second floor and stayed there for the rest of the night.   I was the host here, people wanted to see me and talk with me, there were a hundred party details to see to… my minions and I were kept very busy over that next hour.   All the while, more and more guests kept arriving, and the security guard down on the door kept clicking and clicking his counter.

Up on the second floor, I had no notion of what was happening down on the door, and even now I am not sure of the timing, but as best as I can determine sometime between 11:30 and 12:00, that counter hit 450, and the venue, as per their previously stated policy, informed us that no one else could be allowed in until some of those presently there left.   I was first informed of this just as I was about to take the stage to present the Alfies.   But even then I had no inkling of the magnitude of the problem.  I imagined a handful of latecomers waiting at the door.  Maybe our minibus had turned up with twenty new guests.  But I knew from past years that once I announced the Alfies, people would start to leave, so I figured the new arrivals would get in soon enough.

But there was something I didn’t know, something I did not find out until twenty/thirty minutes later.   It seems that there was some sort of major sporting event in Dublin that evening (forgive me, I am spotty on the details).   When our friends from New Zealand heard of this, they were concerned that taxicabs might be scarce on the ground, making it difficult for people to reach the Storehouse… so, with the very best of intent, and entirely at their own expense, they chartered two buses to carry guests from the conference center to the Storehouse.   These were not minibuses, like the one I had shuttling back and forth, but full size buses, each capable of carrying 80 people.  My own staff knew nothing of CoNZealand’s generous gesture until far too late… but the upshot was, just as the venue was reaching its maximum capacity, two big buses came lumbering into the parking area and disgorged something like 150 people in rapid succession. 

I was up in the middle of the party during this, so I cannot speak with any certainty as to precisely what happened next.  From what I have been able to gather, a few people from the first bus were admitted before the counter hit 450.  The rest were stopped and told the venue had reached capacity.   Who was on the door at that point?  I don’t have names.  What precisely did they say?  I don’t know that either.   How many people in the crowd at the door did they speak to?  Did someone stand on a chair and make an announcement to the crowd, was it handled more individually?   I don’t know.    I don’t doubt that the people on the door said, “You can’t go in” or some variant thereof.  That was, in fact, the case.  I doubt very much that this was all they said, however.   I would hope that they also added the word “now” and explained the reasons.   “You can’t go in now, we are at capacity, but as soon as some people leave, you will be welcome to enter.”   That’s what should have been said.   With such a large number of people descending on them all at once demanding entrance, however, it is possible that the fans on the door felt overwhelmed and defensive.   If any of them were rude or dismissive, that should not have happened, and I am deeply sorry for it.   By the same token, however, I would hope that the new arrivals were patient and understanding, once the situation had been explained to them, and that they treated the folks on the door with courtesy.   None of this was the fault of the fans who had agreed to man the door.   They were doing what they had to, to prevent the party from being shut down.   They were obeying what we were told was the law.

What happened outside after that gets a bit murky.   Some guests hailed a cab and went back to their hotels, or to a bar, or to another party.   Others waited patiently for admission.   At least one person decided the world needed to hear of this outrage and began to tweet furiously from the parking lot.   Meanwhile, inside the party, I climbed on stage and asked for quiet.  I had the Alfies to present, but before that I made a couple of announcements.   One of the guests had her service animal with her and requested that I ask the partiers not to pet, feed, or step on her dog.   I was glad to do so.  I also reported that we had some people outside who could not get in because we had reached capacity, who would be admitted when space permitted… but I didn’t want anyone thinking I was kicking them out, so I also said that no one had to leave unless they wanted to.   Then I presented well-deserved awards to two giants of British publishing, Jane Johnson and Malcolm Edwards.   Each of them said a few words, then the band began playing again, the party resumed, and the servers started serving cakes.  

And people began to leave.   Just as I had anticipated.   Just as they had in previous years.   Some guests always leave after the cake.  

As they left, the people outside began to be admitted.

Not all at once, no.   There were a lot of people outside.   No one ever gave me a number, but the Guinness guard with the counter was keeping track as guests came and went.   For every person who left, a person was admitted.   If ten people left, ten were let in.   All the time keeping the count at 450.   This was exactly what should have happened, given these circumstances, and most of those waiting for admission were happy enough once the line started moving again… but not everyone.   The finalist who had first started blasting us on Twitter, angry that he was denied entrance, seemed to become even angrier when the door admitted thirty people… on the grounds that more than thirty were waiting, and somehow this was ‘playing Hunger Games.’   Well, no.   I have heard no reports of death matches in the parking lot.   Thirty people had departed, so thirty were admitted.  The rest would also be admitted when more guests took their leave.

And here’s the important thing, the crucial fact that none of the Twitter reports seem to mention: eventually everyone who waited got in.  They had to wait, yes, and I am sorry for that, and it should not have happened, and a number of mistakes were made, most by me.   But my minions and the Kiwis, and even the Guinness folk, did everything they possibly could under the circumstances, and sometime between 12:30 and 12:45, they cleared that parking area.   Yes, a certain percentage of those denied entry had left, some departing with a shrug and others with a snarl, but those who simply waited were all admitted eventually and were able to enjoy the last hour and a quarter of the party.   There was still food, there was still cake, the band was still playing, people were dancing, talking, and mocking the winners in their funny hats.    New guests were still arriving even then by taxi and minibus.   Anyone who arrived after 1:00 am walked right in.    And by the way, some of the people who had to wait were among my oldest and dearest friends.   I’ve known Joe and Gay Haldeman since my first con in 1971.  They arrived, could not get in, and chose to head back to their hotel.   The next day they joked with me about it; no anger, no recriminations, they had seen overcrowded parties before.   Ellen Datlow edited some of my most famous stories during her years at OMNI.   She was stopped at the door, but she waited, and was finally admitted, and I ran into her inside the party around 1:00 am.   She seemed to be enjoying herself.     The same was true of Pat Cadigan, another old friend.   Pat had a cane, and when the folks on the door saw that, she was offered a chair while she waited.    Mary Robinette Kowal did not have to wait.   She arrived late enough that she could just walk right in, once she’d donned her stupid hat.  That was true for everyone who arrived after 12:45 (except for the part about the funny hat).  The circumstances were trying for everyone, but my minions and the Kiwis did their best to make things right.   They do not deserve to be vilified.   A mistake was made, that was all.   There was never any intention to slight or mistreat anyone. 

That’s the story.  Guests who came early walked right in.   Guests who came late walked right in.   Some guests who arrived at the party’s peak, where the crush was at its thickest, had to wait outside for a period of time.  Not fun, I know.   I hate waiting myself.   But the same thing happens every weekend at nightclubs all across the country.  It’s not anything anyone wanted to happen… but it is not the same as saying “droves of nominees were turned away,” as some people are saying on Twitter.  (Mostly people who were not there, repeating third hand tales).   That’s just wrong.   For all its problems, for all the mistakes and miscommunications, the 2019 Hugo Losers Party was overall a great success.   A lot more went right than went wrong.   When all the coming and going is taken into account, we welcomed more than 600 guests, we fed them and plied them with Guinness Stout and other adult beverages (and soft drinks as well). We had Irish dancers, a band, two professional photographers taking pictures, a caricature artist, little cakes, and an Alfie presentation.   We provided free transportation… and CoNZealand provided a lot more of same.    My minions worked for months planning the event, and even harder on the night.   So did the Kiwis.    To see them being pilloried on Twitter just confirms the sad fact that no good deed goes unpunished.   They deserve some thanks instead.  

That being said… I need to clear up some misconceptions.

Some of those in the parking area who were not allowed to enter were finalists who had lost Hugo awards that night.    That made them Hugo losers, certainly.   And as nominees, all of them had party invitations, supplied to them in their registration materials by Dublin 2019.   But much of the outrage about what happened seems to have its root in a mistaken belief that this was their party,  intended to “honor” or “celebrate” them, that it was being staged “for” them, that they should have been given preference over everyone else, an assertion that just reeks of entitlement.  Some Twitterers have even gone so far to suggest which other guests should have been thrown out to make room for them.   Eva Whitley Chalker, for instance, suggests we should have tossed out “Tor’s staff & the herd from Locus.”   No.  Just no.  LOCUS has been part of the Hugo Losers Party since the beginning; Charlie Brown was at the first one in 1976 and wrote after that it was the best party at the con, and I gave LOCUS a well-deserved Alfie in 2016.  I am not tossing out Tor either… nor Orion, nor Voyager, nor Random House, nor any other editor or publisher.   Nor any of my other invited guests.  (And yes, I dared to invite some GAME OF THRONES cast members, an Irish filmmaker and actress, a Broadway producer, and other friends of mine own, some not even members of the con, to the party I organized and paid for.  Shocking, I know.  How dare I).   All of them had just as much right to attend as any of the people on the bus.   They got there earlier, so they got in.   If they had arrived later, they would have been the ones who had to wait outside.  You cannot get more fair than that.

The Hugo Losers Party is not intended to honor or celebrate the current year’s cop of Hugo finalists or exalt them above all others.  

Never has been, never will be, not so long as I am throwing the party.    LOSERS WELCOME.  WINNERS WILL BE MOCKED.   NO ASSHOLES.   That’s how our invitations have read since 2015.   There is not a word about the current year’s nominees or finalists.

Gardner Dozois and I threw the first party at my room at MidAmericon in 1976, with stale pretzels and leftover booze scrounged from other parties, but we’d been Hugo Losers long before that.   The first time I lost, in 1974, Gardner inducted me into the “Hugo Losers Club” by chanting “one of us, one of us” from Todd Browning’s FREAKS.   The next year, when I won, he threw me out (of our fictive ‘club,’ there was no party).    But he let me back in again.   “Once a Hugo Loser, always a Hugo Loser,” he said.  

The party is not just for the 2019 Hugo losers… it’s for the people who lost last year and the year before, or ten years ago, it’s for the guy who was nominated in 1963 and never again.   And it’s for winners too, at least those with a sense of humor (see Alfie Bester, for whom my award is named).  And for editors, and publishers, and the smofs and conrunners who work so hard putting on these cons.   The new losers, the guys and gals who lost for the first time this year, are certainly welcome… but they are joining a community, a battered brotherhood of defeat.  Every year at the party I have a handful of HUGO LOSER ribbons, and I am always delighted to give one to someone who has just lost for the first time.   Most of these virgins (with a couple of exceptions) are delighted to receive it.   There’s a sense, as Gargy put it so long ago, that they are now “one of us, one of us,” welcome at our party.   That does not mean it is now their party, and that everyone else should get the hell out.

For what it’s worth, there IS a party that honors the current year’s nominees, and them alone.   That’s the reception that is held before the Hugos.   Only nominees, presenters, and acceptors are allowed into that party.   I’ve seen multiple Hugo winners, past Worldcon GOHs, even SFWA Grandmasters turned away from these receptions if they were not on the list.   The Dublin reception was very nice.   Lots of drink, some tasty hors d’oevres, nominees were lauded and had their pictures taken and were escorted out to reserved seats in the auditorium.   That was the party for the 2019 finalists.   My party is for them and a lot of other losers, who have just as much a right to be there as they do.   And it is my party.   Gardner and I started it in 1976 and I ran it (in borrowed hotel suites for the most part, since a single hotel room no longer sufficed) for the better part of a decade.   Since Parris and I revived the party in 2015, well… Random House covered the bar one year.   This year, Harper Collins Voyager chipped in some pounds for that, and CoNZealand provided our door staff, the cakes, and some money as well.   The San Jose Worldcon helped in Helsinki, and the Dublin Worldcon helped in San Jose, but mostly it is me and my wife and our minions doing this. 

Parties were once the heart and soul of Worldcon, but more and more they are becoming an endangered species.   Con hotels shut down room parties at the least excuse, or don’t allow them in the first place, or restrict them to a single floor.   Hall parties have become extinct, and publisher parties, what few still exist, are hot, noisy, and even more overcrowded than that Losers Party at Helsinki.   But this field has been very good to me, and I am a firm believer in the idea of giving something back to the community I’ve been a part of for all of my adult life.    That’s something I would like to continue to do, but this year’s experience has made it plain that any future parties face real challenges.   No one wants this to happen again.   But how to prevent it?  

There are two easy, glib answers to that: hire larger venues, or invite fewer people.   But there are problems with both those solutions.   The number of Hugo Losers keeps growing.   Even if we stop adding new categories, this year’s losers will still be around next year… and a whole bunch of new virgins will be joining them.   I cannot just keep booking larger and larger venues, and providing ever increasing amounts of food and drink.   That road ends with me booking the Superdome for some future New Orleans Worldcon.   But inviting fewer people is not so simple either.   Who gets cut?  Yes, we can be harder at the door with the guests who turn up with a plus four instead of a plus one, but that alone won’t make much impact.   Do I drop the two “not a Hugo” categories?   Ban the winners instead of just putting them in funny hats?   Stop inviting my own friends and fans and colleagues?   I don’t think so.

When I revived the Hugo Losers Party in 2015, for some years there had been a “Post Hugo Nominees Reception” run by the following year’s Worldcon.   At LonCon, the party thrown by the Spokane people was so pathetic that I decided to get back in the game.   At Spokane, however, Kansas City still had their party, and at Kansas City, Helsinki threw one.   Those two parties ran concurrently with my own, though mine tended to keep going after the other had shut down.  For Helsinki, however, the San Jose people reached out and suggested we merge parties, and I agreed.  So San Jose helped with our Helsinki party, and Dublin joined me for San Jose, and CoNZealand this year.   But maybe the merger was a mistake.   Maybe, going forward, we should embrace the “two party solution.”   Two parties running concurrently would divide the crowd and make overcrowding much less likely.   It might even spur future Worldcons to put a little more time, effort, and money into the “official” party, so dismal affairs like the LonCon party would not reoccur.   Is that the answer?  I guess I need to talk to Washington, see how they feel.

 One thing you can bet on.   I am not going to rent the bloody Superdome.

102 thoughts on “GRRM on the Hugo Losers Party

  1. That..was comprehensive! I can only hope this puts an end to all of the useless sniping, blaming and finger pointing online.

  2. 140 invitations for 280 people, 120 finalists plus some presenters and all the Guests of Honor, was absolutely predictable as far back as January (and the Lodestar was not presented for the first time this year, though the Art Book was extra).

    I do think that they’re going to have to go back to two parties. GRRM wants to invite all of his many friends in fandom and the publishing industry — and he’s paying for it, why shouldn’t he? The fact that he considers it his party and not the party for the Hugo Finalists indicates that that would be the right way to go, because we really need to have something specifically to honor the Hugo Finalists.

  3. GRRM says that the finalists get their party beforehand; seems sound to me. I do expect the number of losers on site to stabilize, barring the introduction of new categories; ISTM that even the people involved enough to have been nominated don’t come every year. (I’ve heard a claim by someone who had a hand in merged lists that the core attendance of Worldcon is ~3000, but that was from some years ago — the lower attendance at recent US Worldcons may have changed this.)

    I’m disappointed but unsurprised by the amount of ignorant Tweetage (and other babble) around this. I suspect the people actually managing who got in (as opposed to how many) were at less than their best after a long day and convention; possibly they should have been people who could cope well under stress (I know I wouldn’t have been able to) and been able to make the problem clearer, but that’s a rarer skill than is needed.

  4. If the Hugo Losers Party is not, in fact, for the said Losers, why not change the name? I certainly read it as intended to honor the finalists. If it were George’s Post-Hugo Bash it might not be so upsetting for people to have to wait to get in. And waiting should have been predictable, with that many invitations and that number limit.

  5. The overcrowding and related problems seems to be caused by Too Many Cooks and Poor Communications. That follows. The two go together all too well.

    The two party solution would be best, though a plan to deal with overflow would be best. Perhaps someone or a group would be interested in throwing a low key post-Hugo party for those who can’t handle a big party (or doesn’t care to) for those people who need a shot or two to cut the tension and decompress before turning in.

  6. Historically US cons were bigger than non US but the numbers have been growing elsewhere while US numbers have softened a bit. Dublin was larger than expected and as the piece says the Irish are strict on safety codes.

    Twitter clearly isn’t helping.

  7. It seems to me that the unspoken alternative to the two party idea is that the con steps up more in GRRM’s party. Maybe I’m misreading but I thought I picked up a little “If you want me to consistently throw a party big enough to serve all these people, you’re going to have to help me out or throw your own party” between those lines. Not that that’s necessarily unfair, I don’t have a ton of perspective on the matter.

  8. First of all, many thanks to George R.R. Martin, both for the explanation and for hosting the party in general. I actually wanted to thank him in person, but I didn’t want to disturb him at the party itself and didn’t see him again afterwards.

    As someone who actually was at the party, because we were cold and got tired of waiting for the bus, so we took a taxi and so got there early enough, GRRM’s observations match my own. Looking at my photos, my earliest party photos have a time stamp of 11:30. At this time, the party wasn’t particularly busy. By the time, the Alfies were awarded around midnight, it was a lot more busy. This was also around the time I first heard of people not getting in via Twitter. I eventually did see several of the people who tweeted about not getting in at the party, so they did get in after all. I still saw angry tweets after that and someone more or less implied that I shouldn’t have been let in, because I was just an accepter, not a finalist (I’m still pissed off about that). My last photos of the party are time-stamped around 1 AM and we left shortly thereafter.

    As for the “It was just George and his friends a.k.a. the old guard partying, while new Hugo finalists got snubbed” complaints, that does not match my impression at all. Because I saw a lot of current year Hugo finalists, some of them first timers, at the party. And even if someone is not a current year finalist, they may well be an accepter or plus one. Of the people I talked to at the party, there were only two folks who were neither finalists nor accepters nor plus ones.. One was Hugo administrator Nicholas Whyte, who IMO had every right to be there. The other was a writer with whom I’d been on a panel earlier and who told me that she had an invitation. However, this person is a writer in a genre other than SFF who just happens to be a fan. Definitely not “the old guard” or “only famous people”, though this writer may well be a friend of GRRM’s.

    That said, I agree with JJ that it should have been possible to estimate the number of finalists, presenters, GoHs, etc… because it was known how many categories and finalists there would be plus how many GoHs, etc… And while magazines and fancasts often have larger staffs, Journey Planet was the only one as far as I know who had more than two accepters actually in attendance.

    As for “The party is not for current year Hugo losers, but for all Hugo losers”, I for one did not know this either and just assumed that “Hugo Losers Party” meant “finalists who have lost a Hugo this year”. I have absolutely no issue with inviting all past Hugo losers, if they are present, but maybe this needs to be communicated better (and does this mean I automatically get to attend every Hugo loser party from here on? Though I won’t attend again until 2023 or 24 at the earliest anyway).

    Maybe the best solution would be to have two parties. And regarding the Hugo reception, I did see several people there who were not current year finalists, though they may well have been plus ones or accepters.

    PS: The major sporting event was the 2019 All-Ireland Hurling Final, where Kilkenny and Tipperary, apparently major rivals, competed against each other. Earlier that day, I was in the city centre and accidentally ran into an impromptu memorial service for several freedom fighters from Tipperary killed during the Easter rising held in the middle of a busy street and asked someone what was going on and got this explanation.

    Tipperary won BTW.

  9. If the Hugo Losers Party is not, in fact, for the said Losers, why not change the name?

    Because it is for Hugo Losers. It’s just not for this year’s crop of Losers above and before all else.

    See:

    The party is not just for the 2019 Hugo losers… it’s for the people who lost last year and the year before, or ten years ago, it’s for the guy who was nominated in 1963 and never again. And it’s for winners too, at least those with a sense of humor (see Alfie Bester, for whom my award is named). And for editors, and publishers, and the smofs and conrunners who work so hard putting on these cons. The new losers, the guys and gals who lost for the first time this year, are certainly welcome… but they are joining a community, a battered brotherhood of defeat. Every year at the party I have a handful of HUGO LOSER ribbons, and I am always delighted to give one to someone who has just lost for the first time. Most of these virgins (with a couple of exceptions) are delighted to receive it. There’s a sense, as Gargy put it so long ago, that they are now “one of us, one of us,” welcome at our party. That does not mean it is now their party, and that everyone else should get the hell out.

  10. Kurt: Your ‘just’ is doing a lot of work there. You can see how the name (and the existence of tickets) makes the situation ripe for misunderstanding? It’s held after two events where the current year’s finalists are given special status. And ‘virgins’ are poorly placed to ‘get’ the context.

  11. Your ‘just’ is doing a lot of work there. You can see how the name (and the existence of tickets) makes the situation ripe for misunderstanding?

    Then I’d say spread understanding, not an attempt to make George rename a party that is about Hugo Losers but has never been only for that year’s losers. The existence of tickets that read “Losers Welcome. Winners Will Be Mocked. No Assholes” indicated pretty clearly that losers are welcome, but it doesn’t say anything to specify that this year’s losers are singled out as of prime importance. And that winners are invited too (to be mocked, as they have been from the start). Assholes are the only ones specifically disinvited.

    It’s not called the New Hugo Losers Party, after all.

  12. Stuff happens.
    George, you are obviously a born novelist because that was a really long explanation that could have been pared down to— It was my party and I paid for it (not the convention), but due to various circumstances there wasn’t enough room for all the invited and it couldn’t be changed. I am really sorry some folks were disappointed. I hope this can be avoided in the future, but sometimes the unexpected happens. Hope those that those that did not get in had a great time in Dublin anyway.
    Wish I had been there to be turned away…. (Hugo loser a long long time ago.)

  13. Dear Lenore, et.al.,

    As George pointed out– the party was his (co) invention. He ran it for years as a quasi-pseudo-open party, and he called it the Hugo Losers Party. When cons took over running it, they changed the rules. Now George has reclaimed it and he’s changed them back to something much closer to his original.

    Why in the world should he change the name??!! His party, his name, first and present-day.

    People will figure it out, sooner or later. The ones who don’t and complain will either be ignored, because George is a forgiving soul, or may find themselves no longer receiving invitations because, as it says, “no assholes.”

    I can remember plenty of years when the SFWA suite party was so jammed they couldn’t let SFWA members in at times. Those who got turned away, they by and large shrugged it off and didn’t throw a hissy fit. And that was THEIR party.

    pax / Ctein

  14. I am pretty sure it wasn’t for past year winners before GRRM took it back, and I don’t think that it is at all obvious that it’s not primarily to honor current year finalists.

    I’m not saying that’s necessarily wrong, but I think it could be made more clear.

  15. I think that if I had just lost a Hugo, and was faintly consoled by the thought that at least I would get to the coolest party in town, and I got to the venue and was told sorry, too late, I would burst into tears and take a cab to my hotel to hide under a duvet; but then that was my mood for most of Dublin2019 and I didn’t even lose a Hugo. A simple “sorry” on the night would have done a lot to smooth feathers.

    But yes, GRRM is perfectly right to be astounded that people were left out of the Hugo ceremony. I was just told that the auditorium was not at capacity, but that’s because a lot of people just gave up attending, I suspect.

  16. Add me to the number of those who would rather it was called George Martin’s Party, though.

  17. @Anna Feruglio – I don’t think any modern Worldcon has had an auditorium sufficient to fit all of the members, so some people will always be left out of the ceremony. Dublin’s situation was particularly difficult because of the insistence of the venue on the ticketing/wristband thing, though.

  18. Tammy there are generally enough seats for anyone who wants one, even if capacity is lower than attending membership. Afaik turning people away was pretty unique to this WorldCon (could be wrong though).

    Anna the empty seats were in the finalist section, so basically some folks didn’t show up or it was just an estimate and I guess they didn’t want/plan to stop the ceremony to let in a dozen people to fill up the extra seats.

  19. “The Hugo Losers Party is not intended to honor or celebrate the current year’s cop of Hugo finalists or exalt them above all others. “

    Yes, but as said, it was merged with the Post-Hugo reception. That changes expectations on the party. And makes it more important to give priority to finalists.

    Otherwise, as it is basically him paying for a celebration for everyone, I can understand the frustration when people get angry instead of praise him and his helpers. And I am extremely happy about him writing this to help stop attacks on Dublin 2019 and ConZealand.

    With regards to the Hugo ceremony, I thought it worked great with the wristbands. One person could pick up six wristbands which made the queues much shorter there. And as people then felt safe that they could enter the auditorium, the queues where shorter there too. Much better than the enormous queue in Helsinki that took forever. Would be perfectly happy if other cons took after using wristbands.

  20. Outside, when the buses arrived and the venue hit capacity, fans very quickly put in place a prioritisation system, such that when people were gradually admitted in groups of five or so as people left, Hugo losers and winners, con-runners, and anyone else who belonged to the very group of people that some on the internet have been suggesting were denied entry actually got in first when space arose.

    People who were invited for other reasons waited patiently, because we knew that even though the party is not exclusive to Hugo losers et al., they would be the most disappointed if they did not get in. Happily, all those who waited were eventually admitted. Nobody was refused entry.

    So it was mystifying why some people who were neither present nor invited took to the internet to express outrage at George’s generosity on behalf of others. I am glad that he has set the record straight here.

  21. I can understand the thinking that the 450 may not have been a firm limit, but rather more of a guideline that could be waived to some reasonable extent if required. At time that the announcement was made that the venue limit had been reached, out of curiosity I looked about and it appeared that there was more than adequate room to move about the crowd, considerable unoccupied floor space in the main room and especially so in the adjacent spill-over areas. The venue certainly appeared to be adequate to accommodate many more than the limit.

  22. @Tammy Coxen While no recent Worldcon has had an auditorium large enough for the full membership, most of them had one large enough for all the people who wanted to attend the Hugos.

  23. I was on one of those two big buses. When we arrived someone came on the bus and explained what had happened. We were then asked to leave the bus and wait outside venue. It seemed that the venue had just reached max capacity. Everyone outside was surprised but polite.
    Two of our group chose to get a taxi back to their hotel.

    Almost immediately, someone came to the door and asked Hugo nominees to come forward first! About ten (I think) of us who were Hugo winners, losers and plus ones stepped forward and were allowed in. At that time no other Hugo nominees came forward, and in fact some people waiting were incredulous that the people walking to the door were actually Hugo nominees. We were. Our details were checked against the guest list inside the door.

    Don’t know what happened next… We walked in just as you were finishing your speech.

  24. I agree with the people who suggest a renaming. George Martin doesn’t have the duty to accommodate every single Hugo loser of all time plus his friends. That’s fair. But when you get an invitation as part of your Hugo nomination, you are naturally going to be hurt that it’s not actually a promise.

    Here’s a bit that surprises me:

    It was there that the Guinness people made it very clear to us that the 450 maximum capacity was an absolute hard limit. There would be no packing more people in, as at Helsinki. If we went over 450, the party would be shut down immediately. Also, though there was nobody else in the building that night, we would not be permitted to spill out onto unused floors. Our guests would be restricted to the Arrol Suite and adjacent mezzanine rooms, the areas we had booked, and there would be security on hand to make certain no one went wandering. That was… well… firm, but hardly something we could quibble over. We got what I paid for.

    If I’m reading this correctly, the plans assumed that the venue would break the local fire code if necessary.

  25. As someone who entered the venue with someone with access needs, not into the party but into the atrium, I want to correct something: people with access needs did not sail straight in when those buses turned up. Ada Palmer, not associated with the party in any way, marched to the doors and made them allow people with access needs to use the benches in the atrium until they could go up to the party. Without Ada’s efforts, people with access needs would have been standing outside in the bitter cold: that wasn’t an achievement of George, or the venue or con staff. That was Ada Palmer not taking shit and rightly demanding accommodation. Credit where it’s due, please!

  26. Have you ever read an apology which only makes you more convinced that the person giving the apology is in the wrong? And isn’t capable of improving?

    ‘Cause I just did.

    GRRM failed to organize a piss-up in a brewery. Because he did it on hope and prayer and having plenty of evidence that the space was insufficient, and just praying that a lot of people wouldn’t show up or the venue could be sweet-talked into ignoring fire codes.

    That’s not a plan.

    Do I have sympathy for the guy for getting in over his head? Yeah, I do. But the thing is — when I get in over my head that way, I tag in someone else smarter than me. Maybe that smarter person would have figured out a way to raise funds for a larger venue. Or to find a cheaper, less fancy venue. Or push back on those first 280 invites.

    What I WOULDN’T do is “Well, back in MY day we all just had parties and got drunk and kids these days have RULES and EVENTS and PLANNING and THAT’S NOT FAIR AND NO FUN.”

    I mean, maybe GRRM is right — maybe rules and events and planning aren’t fun. But maybe you find someone else to do it for you then? Rather than hoping something will magically work?

  27. It’s also worth noting that — as was pointed out to me just now in a conversation with a three-time Hugo loser — it’s an invitation-only party, and invitations were not sent out to past Hugo losers, just nominees for this year. So the only losers who are definitively invited are the current nominees, which might explain why they get the impression it’s for them.

  28. SF conventions have always had outrages, and this one puzzled me more than most. Thank you for shining light in the corners, including corners I did not know existed. And thank you for hosting a wonderful party for wonderful people, both those who made it in and those who didn’t.

  29. As a former Hugo winner (and loser) who attended Worldcon this year, it never for one moment occurred to me that I could show up at the door of this year’s HLP and gain admission. Nor do I think that I would have – since, for one thing, I didn’t have an invitation and wouldn’t have known who to talk to to get one. I think it’s very clear that “past Hugo winners/losers” is code for “past Hugo winners/losers whom GRRM knows and likes”. Which is fine, since it’s his party and he can invite whomever he likes. But what isn’t fine is trying to gaslight the rest of us into believing that obviously past Hugo winners and losers (or rather, some of them) had to be invited to the party, when really it was just the host’s personal preference.

    And if that’s how the HLP is going to work from now on, then it needs to be decoupled from the Worldcon and treated like a private party like any other. Because right now, current Hugo nominees are absolutely made to feel like the HLP is part of the Hugo experience, and that it is their party if they lose. It’s not surprising if they get insulted when left out of it.

  30. The party is not just for the 2019 Hugo losers… it’s for the people who lost last year and the year before, or ten years ago, it’s for the guy who was nominated in 1963 and never again.

    This would be more convincing if all those past losers got invitations. Without that, how are we past losers to know we are invited? By being “in the know,” apparently. In other words, by being the kind of people who come to the party regardless of their past Hugo Losing status.

  31. If we went over 450, the party would be shut down immediately. Also, though there was nobody else in the building that night, we would not be permitted to spill out onto unused floors.

    As someone whose side job has involved convincing angry dance parents they would not be permitted to violate the theatre fire code limits even if their kid was on stage, my sympathies are with the venue here.

    Our guests would be restricted to the Arrol Suite and adjacent mezzanine rooms, the areas we had booked, and there would be security on hand to make certain no one went wandering.

    My boss is absolutely firm about giving clients exactly what they prebooked and no more, and I believe the reason is clients, having got a bit extra, become curious about how much extra they can get.

  32. Pingback: I didn’t feel personally belittled until this moment: George’s Hugo Losers Party explanation ← Alex Acks: Sound and Nerdery

  33. After having been waiting for one hour in the rain, they “were able to enjoy the last hour and a quarter of the party”.

    I’m not that surprised that people gave up and left. I think I would have done the same if it was that short time to enjoy the party. I do not think “everyone who waited got in” is that good an argument when they lost most of the time to party.

  34. I want to throw some historical context in here that Mr Martin appears to have forgotten. He took the Hugo Losers’ Party back after its “most dismal party in history” LonCon iteration, which he has described as the “nadir”. Why, one might ask, was it the nadir? Well, in part, apparently, because “the queue [for entry] stretched all the way down the hall, and people were giving up and going away rather than wait.” Who on earth would have been the one to object to these long queues, I wonder…? Why, it was… Mr Martin himself, it turns out! But now, queues are just to be lived with, it seems? What a strange change of heart, I wonder how we could explain it…

  35. This seems fine right up till the last part where he explains that yes, while he calls it the Hugo Losers Party, it’s not actually for the Hugo Nominees, it’s for all his friends and industry people he has known for a long time.

    I think I’m going to have to point out that GRRM literally does not own the rights to name his party “The Hugo Losers Party” and has been allowed to do so on licence by the WSFS. And if he’s not throwing a party for the Hugo Losers of the Worldcon at which it is held, then maybe he should be required to change the name.

    If GRRM wants to run a party for industry figures, SMOFS he knows, past decades nominees, his own Awards Show… Fine. But maybe he doesn’t get to use the Hugo Awards name for that?

  36. It’s the Hugo Loser’s Party. If it is not for the Hugo losers of this year, but for all of them, forever, (And prior Hugo losers have already noted they don’t get invited nor assume they will be) then it will continue to increase in size until the heat death of the universe. I am fairly sure more new Hugo winners and losers are made every year than die in that year.

    I do not criticize GRRM for also wanting to invite a lot of other big names in the industry, having Big Names there to mingle with is likely a part of what makes it a party worth going to, but to pretend that those people who were part of the Hugos this year and who the party is named after should not take that name as meaningful? This seems to demand either a rethink or a name change.

  37. There is already a party to honor the Hugo finalists, just before the presentation (when they’re all still finalists, before they know the division into winners and losers).

    And GRRM (properly) took responsibility for the mistakes he made. The inflexibility of the number was a surprise. The mis-estimate of the expected number of finalists plus presenters and guests of honor.

    And then the surprise delivery of 150 people, just as the limit was hit. That last one wasn’t particularly predictable.

    Quite apart from the incontrovertible fact that GRRM absolutely can invite whoever he wants to the party he’s giving — he has a a fascinating set of friends and connections, and they add a lot to the party.

    I haven’t been a regular; missed the first one (I was deep into the video crew in 1976, one of Scott Imes’ two lieutenants on that project, but didn’t know fandom beyond Minneapolis that much and didn’t hear about it) but made the 2016 one as a legit one-plus.That one was impressive.

  38. Jay Blanc: …I think I’m going to have to point out that GRRM literally does not own the rights to name his party “The Hugo Losers Party” and has been allowed to do so on licence by the WSFS….

    You’re starting from an incorrect premise. “Hugo Award”, the official name, is service marked by WSFS. They have not registered a mark for “Hugo Losers” or “Hugo Losers Party.”

  39. @David: “The inflexibility of the number was a surprise.”

    Why? Why would you assume that a venue could hold more people than specified in your contract?

  40. David Dyer-Bennet:

    “There is already a party to honor the Hugo finalists, just before the presentation (when they’re all still finalists, before they know the division into winners and losers).”

    And since 1988, there has also been one afterwards. The Post-Hugo Reception that was merged with GRRM:s party. Merge does not mean cease to exist.

  41. If over 150 more people arrive over the capacity limit then I’m amazed the organiser thinks a company would let them get away with it regardless of their fame. That smacks of over inviting and this feels a weak response. The number of finalists was clearly signposted earlier this year and whinging about how magazines have more than one editor is a bit old fashioned. The treatment of the nominees on the night was bad; that this communication took two weeks to get out terrible and that it blames nominees for not knowing the secret history of the Hugo’s when simply warning them of capacity issues would have been sensible. All ok in favour of the HLP going back to the existing con team to organise and leave George and his mates to their own devices

  42. @Toft: So it was mystifying why some people who were neither present nor invited took to the internet to express outrage at George’s generosity on behalf of others. Unfortunate, appalling, and several other adjectives could be applied, but not “mystifying”; there are always people with axes to grind and/or looking for something to grieve about. (witness @Ian Osmond’s comment — which is especially ungracious because the point of this essay is to make clear that other parties being blamed should not be.)

    @Ken Brown: from my various bits of dealings with US fire regulations, I would expect that the rule was not concerned with how many people can be jammed in and still breathe; the usual concern is how quickly people can get out in an emergency — see, e.g., the Cocoanut Grove Fire for where this comes from. (This is especially difficult in a renovated building, where original designers may not have been as concerned with safety.) The venue’s redesigner and owners may have agreed on the number that could fit by conversational standards rather than mosh-pit standards and provided exits accordingly.

    OTOH: @Madame Hardy: it’s not clear whether GRRM was told that 450 was a fire-code limit rather than a recommended limit.

  43. I made my first comment, now I’ve read some of the others.

    GRRM doesn’t own the name…maybe they should take it away from him…reclaim it…

    You’re all bloody crazy. George and I have had our internet differences but – seriously?

    An internationally recognized media star who has time and again gone to bat for Fandom (I don’t go to Dragoncon, I go to Worldcon) in our world and on the international stage has a couple of fubars at a party he paid for, arranged, planned and now apologizes for the mistakes and you all are saying anything but what ought to be said

    “Thanks for trying, George. Thanks for your support, your great work(s), thanks for being a FAN, keep on doing what you’re doing, we have every faith that you’ll figure things out, if you need some help, let us know”.

    Wow.

  44. People keep saying GRRM has apologised.

    I have a question.

    Where exactly is there an apology in all this? There’s a lot of words so maybe i missed it, but…i don’t think so?

  45. @Chip Hitchcock OTOH: @Madame Hardy: it’s not clear whether GRRM was told that 450 was a fire-code limit rather than a recommended limit.

    It was known in enough time to take some mitigating measures – which doesn’t appear to have occurred.
    We got the first bad news when we arrived in Dublin and some of my staff went down to the Guinness Storehouse to go over all the arrangements. It was there that the Guinness people made it very clear to us that the 450 maximum capacity was an absolute hard limit

  46. D Franklin’s memory of the Loncon post-Hugo party differs greatly from mine.I don’t recall any long line. What I do remember is a “venue” that consisted of a couple out-of-the-way totally characterless rooms in the convention center (used as press rooms during the Olympics, I believe,) with not much of a bar, not much in the way of food, hardly anyplace to sit and nothing that would pass for entertainment. And they seem to imply that George wasn’t there–I can’t swear to it, but I think he was–I think it was he that introduced me to Benikoff and Weiss. I’d been to most of the post-Hugo receptions, after they were taken over by the cons. LonCon really was kinda piss poor. (and a disappointment to me, particularly, since I won a Hugo that nite!)

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